ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- It's been nearly two months since Kevin Kiermaier has taken the field to play baseball after suffering a fracture in his left hip, and the Rays centerfielder has been itching for the chance to get into game action.
"I'm very excited," Kiermaier told me Wednesday. "I can't wait to step in that batter's box and play games again, getting ready to get back here [off the 60-day disabled list] August 9th."
Kiermaier will report to Port Charlotte today to begin a rehab assignment with Tampa Bay's Florida State League affiliate, the Charlotte Stone Crabs. It's the second consecutive year that Kiermaier will head to Charlotte County for a rehab assignment after missing a significant portion of the year with injury.
"I told myself [at the start of the year] that I didn't want to go back to Port Charlotte until next Spring Training," the Rays outfielder admitted, "but here I am again this summer going back to rehab."
While Kiermaier may wish that he could forego any sort of a rehab assignment, he knows that it's necessary to get in to on-field action at the minor-league level to prepare for once again facing Major League pitching.
"Those are the cards that were dealt for me, but I'm just trying to get locked in as soon as I can, and hopefully once August 9th comes it's like there was no time that's been lost," he said. "I can't wait to start playing again, though."
That time starts now.
Listen below to Kiermaier's comments!